KOLKATA: The West Bengal government started an assessment to join the Centre’s Jal Jeevan Mission to provide piped water supply to 1.37 crore rural households in the state.
The Trinamool Congress-led government, so far, has refused to join central schemes like Aayushmann Bharat, and PM-Kishan. Hitting out at this refusal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as a "speed breaker" during the Lok Sabha elections.
The move is said to be significant because it seems the state government is all set to participate in the Centre’s schemes and projects. The public health engineering (PHE) department is assessing the requirements to bring more than 90 per cent of rural households in the state under piped water supply schemes, said an official at Nabanna, the state secretariat.
“The assessment covers engineering and financial requirements. The assessment was taken up after the Centre initiated the scheme to supply piped water,” said the official.
The state government’s stance has become significant in political and administrative circles at a time when Mamata has been maintaining her distance from Modi’s government by refusing to join its schemes.
Sources in the state administration said financial constraints forced the state government to reconsider its approach. "The state government is spending nearly Rs 12,000 crore every year to provide cheap food grains, health insurance and direct financial assistance to farmers under schemes modelled on the central ones. The state is paying a heavy price for staying away. It will be a wise decision to join the Jal Jeevan Mission," said an official.